APPOMATTOX, Va. (WFXR) — At Appomattox County high school, one senior is gearing up for his college football career as a Virginia Tech Hokie. But he’s already made history before even stepping on the field in Blacksburg by being recognized as one of the best in the entire country.
“My life changed literally. It changed right in front of my eyes. I couldn’t ask for a better high school story because I came from the little dude on the team to now,” senior linebacker Tavorian Copeland said. “I got something going on now.”
Copeland actually has a lot going on right now. He’s getting ready to graduate from high school and transition to becoming a Hokie and play for Virginia Tech head coach Brent Pry. It’s a future he wasn’t sure would ever happen.
“My recruiting process was really long. It came out of nowhere honestly. It came in right out of left field. Going through my process, I was looking for a home. Somewhere I can get my education and really play football. The type of football that I wanted to play,” Copeland said. “And Virginia Tech just fit that with those standards. And with the family, the family feeling environment, I couldn’t ask for a better home.”
His journey to becoming a Hokie wasn’t easy. Copeland talks about once being a thin, lanky guy who had trouble putting on weight. Now he’s a 6-foot-three, 190-pound linebacker who recently made his verbal commitment to Virginia Tech official.
“Putting my name on the dotted line means a lot,” Copeland said. “I want to show other people that anything’s possible because two years ago, I did not know what I was going to do after high school. And I was blessed luckily to go to a Division I school. And only two percent is able to go to Division I. And I’m truly blessed because not everybody has the chance that I have.”
Copeland is used to success. During his career at Appomattox, he helped the Raiders earn two state titles to go along with four straight ten-win seasons.
He’s also the winner of the prestigious Watkins Award, given to the top African-American high school football player in the country. The honor also recognizes accomplishments on and off the field, including community service.
“I’ve been around giving people my whole life and community service has never been a problem for me,” Copeland said. “It’s been a normal part of life and for me, going around and helping people, it lined up perfectly. It couldn’t line up anymore.”
Beyond his near-perfect GPA and his contributions on the field, Copeland hopes he’s remembered for the impact he made on others in Appomattox.
“Just being known as the guy that brought a smile to everybody. The glue that brought everybody together. That’s what I want to be known as. Just a people person. Really helping people out and doing all I can do to make sure that everybody else is better than I am,” Copeland said. “Just keep going. That’s all I gotta say. Just keep going. Even when things get blurry just keep going.”
Words of advice from a student who now has the title of “Premiere African-American Male Scholar Athlete”.